January 16: A Day to Honor and Remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



Dr. King Photo: Flickr

Alex Chizzik, Staff Writer

In the years before the American civil rights movement in the 1950s-60s, few voiced their opinions about the injustice and discrimination that was going on in our country. White Americans were constantly entitled to and ensured the best of the best: public restrooms, restaurants, schools, work settings, and more. Anyone not white simply had no other option but to use designated water fountains and sit at the back of the bus. Of course, a person’s race is something that a person is born with, and there is nothing one can do to change whom they are. The only thing we can change is guaranteeing everyone equal rights that are not based simply on the color of one’s skin.

Martin Luther King Jr. is known as one of the courageous, selfless, and heroic figures in our country’s history. He was an activist and minister who willingly sacrificed his life and legacy in order to advance and grow the civil rights movement to provide equality in America during the 1950s-60s. He encouraged citizens to peacefully protest and support causes such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington by delivering speeches, such as his “I Have a Dream” address. On January 16, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all of the impacts that his legacy continues to leave on society today.

On this day, everyone appreciates Dr. King in different ways. People educate themselves and others on our country’s history and the activists who have helped turn our world around. Reading or listening to his speeches, sermons, and lessons is another way to acknowledge his incredible influence. People might do community service or get involved in donations to give back and make a difference. Although civil rights activists like MLK made such immense differences to society, we are still not where we should be in terms of equality and eliminating discrimination. Posting on social media, writing to school or public newsletters, or simply just getting more involved in your community are easy ways to spread messages and awareness. Despite the fact that MLK day only lasts 24 hours, themes and facts can be sent, absorbed, and learned throughout the whole year, no matter what day it is.

Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Boston gets mixed reception : NPR
New Embrace Sculpture located in Boston

Many parts of our country have different ways of honoring Dr. King. There may be parades, community service events, political speeches, and more. In Boston, Hank Willis Thomas created a bronze sculpture called The Embrace, which depicts the hug between Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Not only does it create a strong impression of love, but it symbolizes the themes of nonviolence that Dr. King preached. Thomas wrote, “You never wake up and think you’d be able to contribute meaningfully to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King… And that alone, the fact that I was able to be a part of that, is just humbling and dumbfounding.” The sculpture weighs 19 tons and was made in Washington before being transported to Boston. It is located right in Boston Common in front of Freedom Plaza where civil rights leaders are remembered for their bravery and strength.

Even though MLK day only comes around once a year, his legacy and impact on our country is timeless and everlasting.